Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Finally fresh walnuts have arrived at the green market. I got me a small bag full and went home to try this (long since bookmarked) recipe. The walnut sauce was yummy if a bit filling. Next time I would leave out the garlic as it quite dominated the flavour. I strongly recommend using a food processor. As I don't have one, I did the grinding by hand in a mortar. This takes some time and doesn't yield a uniform grain size.

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Source: Outstanding In The Field by Jim Denevan


1 cup fresh shelled walnuts (from about 7 ounces in the shell)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups cubed crustless fresh bread (2 ounces)
about 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 clove garlic, pounded with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle (optional)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried pasta, such as spaghetti or penne
parmesan cheese


Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the walnuts. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the skins start to loosen. Drain and pick off as much skin as possible with your fingers, tweezers or a pin. (This can be done one day in advance.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread and set aside. Transfer the walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the soaked bread and the milk and continue processing. Add the stock until the mixture loosens and looks like a thin hummus. (You may not need to add all of the stock.) Slowly add 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a steady stream. Bledn in the nutmeg, the garlic,if using and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta, drain, thereby reserving some of the cooking water. In a large bowl, toss pasta with sauce and add cooking water as necessary. Serve immediately.


Elle said...

Love walnut based recipes. This one looks particularly good for main dish enjoyment. Does the sauce become creamy or more the texture of pesto?

Andreas said...

@Elle: The sauce becomes creamy due to the milk-soaked, crust-less bread. Just make sure to grind the walnuts to a fine powder.